3 Ways Personal Ambition Becomes A Hindrance To Following Christ
Following Christ is the only pursuit that a Christian should have. In following Him we all learn about Him, learn to pursue what He wants, and learn to reject the things He hates. In following Him, we also receive the best reward we could ever have: Himself.
Would you want to see Christ smiling at you when you arrive at the finish line of life? If your response is a mighty "yes," I have something to share with you – read on.
If there's one thing that strongly hinders us in our pursuit of Christ, I would say it's our personal ambitions. There's nothing wrong with dreaming big, aiming high, and working hard to achieve success. We should all do that. However, if we are not careful, our own ambitions will lead us away from our calling in God.
In Matthew 16:24-25, "Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.'"
Read that again and find out just how serious He really is.
My friend, Christ Jesus tells us that if we are serious in following Him, we have to prioritise Him more that we prioritise ourselves. Self-denial is key to Christ-likeness, and only those who lose their lives for His sake can live it abundantly (see John 10:10).
Ambition Versus Following Christ
Ambition, simply defined as "a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work," can be a good thing, but it can also work for the bad, effectively hindering us from following Christ. Here are some ways personal ambition does that.
1. A great desire to be famous poisons our commitment to promote Christ
In Acts 8:9-25, we read the story of Simon the sorcerer, a man famously known as "the great power of God" due to his manipulations. He soon believed in Christ, but had the wrong heart: He offered the apostles money so that whomever he would lay his hands on would receive the Holy Spirit. He was rebuked by Peter, and we read of him no more.
Anybody who wants to be famous for being a "Christian" or "minister" will have his intentions about Christ muddied with hidden agendas.
2. A strong desire to be rich makes money our master, not God
1 Timothy 6:9-10 says, "But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and into many foolish and harmful lusts, which drown men in ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all evil. While coveting after money, some have strayed from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."
3. A consuming desire to be successful in worldly pursuits steals our heart from God's purposes for us
In Matthew 16:26, we read Jesus saying, "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"